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Messages - NHA

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361
Interzone / Re: Ants more noble than modern humans
« on: February 21, 2010, 05:00:28 AM »
What's the point of constructing such a large divide between instinct and rational thought? They're very tightly coupled. It might even be that there is no distinction at all, aside from the strength of the connections in the neural pathways involved.

Obviously anything that needs rapid response times is going to be processed nonconsciously out of pure necessity. Take walking for example, you make conscious decisions about the general parameters involved, but all the fine motor adjustments required to make it happen operate on their own (walking is actually controlled falling btw). For certain things you just have to repeat the action until it becomes second nature and automatic to be fully viable. If you watch people who have mastered an instrument, they operate pretty much effortlessly while playing.

When you have an action that is so heavily repeated that it becomes completely fundamental to the essence of the being, it may eventually become instinct (a set of patterns an organism comes with right out of the box).

It seems like there is more of a gradient between instinct and high level conscious thought instead of any single divide. The question in any matter is: to what extent is an organism capable of performing this task.

362
Interzone / Re: Ants more noble than modern humans
« on: February 18, 2010, 11:16:30 PM »
Sounds like the news reporter is drawing his own conclusions based off the study. Most scientists are very careful with the words they use to describe things.

Quote
The reason why they leave the colony is because they sense death is imminent.

This looks like the only thing that can really be taken home from the article.

Explaining the low level motivations for choosing to die outside of the hive is another matter entirely.

It seems like altruism results from and artificial increase of Utility stemming from irrational factors. Let see 2 examples:


Scenario 1:
1) A is obsessively in love with B
2) B's utility for A is 0.
3) A's utility for A is 10.
4) A's utility for B is 11 due to #1.
5) A would sacrifice A to save B because 11 > 10.

Is #5 altruistic? Its based on a very irrational premise, so probably.

Senario 2:
1.) A's utility for A is 10
2.) A's utility for social group H is 10
3.) A will explode in the near future no matter what happens
4.) A's utility for A is now 0 due to #3
5.) A will move away from H since 10 > 0

Altruistic? Not so much.

Is irrational behaviour actually rational behaviour masked by complicated social, environmental and temporal contexts? Are emotions the result of an individual's adaptations for operating in various intersecting social networks? Fear and Anger helps one operate within the network of predators and prey in ones surrounding environment, so its not surprising that most animals can display these emotions. The types of emotions an intelligent agent can display must be related to the complexity of its social networks.

In the end, the ant probably doesn't need any emotional or altruistic tendencies to make the rational decision to save the hive. Without the hive the ant is as good as dead, so at worst, it must have the same utility value as its own sense of self preservation. If the ant knows its going to die from something, its rational to die alone to prevent contamination of the hive.


363
Metal / Re: Piano metal
« on: February 10, 2010, 08:46:18 AM »
Might be interesting on organ since you wont lose the wall of sound effect that distorted guitars have.

364
Interzone / Re: Firearms, Weapons, Legality, Availabilty
« on: January 27, 2010, 04:00:32 AM »
Walls really don't seem to block much of anything haha.

http://www.theboxotruth.com/docs/bot1.htm

365
Interzone / Nazis and Nationalism
« on: January 14, 2010, 07:35:42 PM »
I really have trouble understanding how someone who listens to death metal and black metal can be horrified by neo-nazis.



366
Interzone / Re: Genetic Engineering
« on: January 01, 2010, 12:55:06 AM »
Quote
I always see the argument of "chemical compounds aren't unnatural, they were derived from natural products" or "nothing humans do can be considered unnatural." Our actions are physical manifestations. Humans are natural as black holes.These arguments are basically sidestepping the argument that chemical compounds or humans are unsustainable. So I must disagree with you on that minor point, NHA. I'm just clarifying (hopefully) the implications regarding what you've said.

I agree it can be used as an excuse for people to sidestep any responsibility, but i was more fixated on the idea of there being little distinction between something natural or man-made. Whether or not something is sustainable or just completely broken is a separate issue i suppose - nature itself produces species that cant sustain itself in the long term. In the end, some things work, some things don't, and we have a responsibility to ourselves to try to make things workable.

I think a mistake a lot of people make is to think of nature as something infallible (although the rules which it operates by may be). Its probably impossible to rate nature in non subjective terms, so were forced to analyze things in relation to how it affects our quality of life.

Its interesting to look back at the periods leading up to the major extinction events. How alien must have something like the Paleozoic era looked to us.

367
Interzone / Re: Genetic Engineering
« on: December 31, 2009, 09:04:58 PM »
There is little point in being human if you aren't going to bend nature to your will (objectively nature is bending itself by proxy). Your instincts are that of an ape, and your planet has you scheduled for eventual extinction if you do nothing. Do you think a "natural" (animalistic) lifestyle is part of an ecosystem where everything is in harmony with your species? There's no harmony, just alternating stages of chaos and equilibrium.

intelligence was created by nature, therefore everything created by intelligence is also from nature. Nothing humans can do can be considered unnatural. Even if humans exterminate 80% of life on the earth, nature itself has done much worse on this planet alone.

Actions should only be subjectively measured by their benefit to humanity. You don't "save the planet" out of altruism, the planet doesn't need you or your help. You preserve things because it is in your best self interest to do so.

The point is to use genetic engineering in thoughtful and productive ways, Even the simplest of tools can be made dangerous in the hands of a moron.

368
Interzone / Re: Activities of users of this forum
« on: December 15, 2009, 06:07:39 AM »


http://img39.imageshack.us/img39/6048/23536378.jpg

The stupid truck is an inside joke for the person i painted it for.

369
Interzone / Re: Genetic Engineering
« on: December 10, 2009, 11:47:56 PM »
Regarding NHA: genetic drift is possible, but it does not happen when you have a large population size. I don't know what you mean by evolutionary dead end, could you please explain?

Sometimes you get unlucky and the population converges on a local minima right away and gets stuck there, unable to reach the global minima. The way you select and breed has a large impact on how often this happens, and sometimes mutations can get things rolling again, but regardless it still happens from time to time.


370
Interzone / Re: Genetic Engineering
« on: December 10, 2009, 01:19:08 AM »
Check out genetic algorithms and neural networks from various AI resources. Obviously its a way stripped down version of the real thing, but its pretty cool to see how a pool of random garbage can converge on something interesting.

In as little as 300 generations you can evolve a chromosome that has encoded the right sequences of thrusts and rotations to land a probe on the moon safely. An interesting property of evolutionary computing is that you don't actually have to know how to solve a problem, just how to rate the quality of intermediate solutions.

In any case, you'll get a feel for some of the pitfalls involved in evolution. For example, excessive elitism causes the population to converge too quickly on non optimal solutions. Evolutionary dead ends are there too, after something stagnates for too long its better to just exterminate and start over.

371
Metal / Re: Metal shams
« on: December 03, 2009, 08:06:27 PM »
if you're going to add  "awesome bands have also devolved into some of the worst forms of falsehood" the list will go on forever.

Lets face it, most bands produce good material within a short period of time and then completely burn out. I get the impression most of them don't really have much of a clue of what they're doing and are just pulling something out of their ass - occasionally they stumble upon a good idea.

Compare this with classical composers who are more or less consistent over their entire body of work.

Its better to focus on good albums than anything else. Even interviews dealing with politics/philosophy from an artist are useless for the most part. The only real connection is in helping explain what their work communicates, but even that tends to be bullshit. Its like abstract artists who have some long winded explanation of what the incoherent mess on their canvas is supposed to convey. Its bullshit - the work should be able to speak for itself.

372
Interzone / Re: Why people hate this forum
« on: November 28, 2009, 05:55:44 PM »
Sharing practical knowledge works well, but sharing opinions rarely results in anything of value.

Can forums actually accomplish anything (particularly ones full of fanboys)?

If we hypothetically elevate Star Trek to the same social status as philosophy/art and discuss that, will the forum be any different?

Everyone knows Picard is better than Kirk and Burzum is better than Xasthur.

373
Interzone / Re: Bringing back bbs.anus.com
« on: November 03, 2009, 06:52:24 AM »
Too easily idiots disrupt the flow or spam the place with repetitive memes.

Tree based layouts on mailing lists tend to work out better than the linear layout you see on most forums i think. When a discussion forks into something trivial or pointless the reader can always just ignore that branch - makes moderating easier too.

 
Quote
There seems to be interest in quality discussion however. My suggestion is that we make it a "brain trust" where people debate stuff to an end, like "we're going to find the twenty best resources for American politics."

For quality discussion you need participants who are actually qualified to discuss the topic. One of the major problems with philosophy and politics is the entry barrier is so low (Most morons have political opinions, but keep their mouth shut about stuff like physics).

How would you qualify people? How many people on this forum would qualify? 5? 10?

At that point youre better off just having them collaborate on articles or something.



374
Interzone / Re: Building your own computer
« on: October 26, 2009, 01:36:11 AM »
Resellers like Sony have been known to use non standard sizing in their PCs so certain things wont fit if you try to drop them in as an upgrade.

If you buy all the components yourself though it shouldnt be a problem - unless the people who designed your case made assumptions they shouldn't have (like assuming video cards wouldnt end up 18 inches long haha). If the case sucks and things are blocking components you can usually just drill out the fasteners.


Anyway, Mobo/cpu/ram combo is usually a cheap upgrade. If you keep your old hdds/cdrw/vid and dump 600$ on mobo/ram/cpu you pretty much have a better setup than most 2k$ computers from retailers.

Of course if you don't use your computer for anything but email/http/word-processing (like 90% of the population) you don't need to upgrade. Just install an OS thats more lightweight.

Xmonad is kind of a hot window manager btw (uses 2mb of mem).

375
Metal / Re: "Sexism" in extreme metal
« on: October 23, 2009, 07:03:32 AM »

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